artist / participant


press release

The exhibition Mirosław Bałka: Nerve. Construction is the most extensive presentation of the artist's works in Poland to date. It brings together works created over more than three decades, starting from his early drawings up to contemporary productions created specifically for the historic interiors of the museum. The exhibition shows mythical figures from the 1980s, works created from found objects, and formally disciplined sculptures characteristic of his later oeuvre. They are complemented with a substantial selection of works on paper: drawings, sketches of sculptures, and private notes. Many of these objects will be presented to the public for the first time.

The key selection criterion is the deeply humanistic and existential dimension of Bałka's art, focused around the centrally placed man and the way he experiences the world. Since the 1980s, he has been coming back to the subject of the human body, its physical and symbolic presence: physiology, vulnerability, and traces. The works in the exhibition are linked with the reflection on human nature, instincts, temporality and memory. At the same time, we can perceive them as discrete affirmation of day-to-day reality. The artist's attention focuses on the margins of the most immediate environment and its the most prosaic elements. The way he uses them, sometimes underpinned by a subtle sense of humour, reveals the utmost care for details and unusual sensitivity going hand in hand with thrifty use of forms and materials. Many objects presented at the exhibition bear personal touch. These are mainly smaller-scale sculptures, works making reference to spaces with which the artist has been emotionally linked (home, gallery, studio) as well as his drawings, traditionally the closest to his original intentions, his body and gestures.

The "nerve" in the title highlights emotions, experiences and senses. It also defines the exhibition as an attempt to convey fundamental information about the practice of the artist. The presentation has been orchestrated around themes that intertwine Bałka'a oeuvre from the very first moments until today. It is an inventory of basic forms, materials and references. By the same token, it grasps the moment of passing from figurative sculpture to reduced, abstract forms, revealing the symbolism of their dimensions and proportions, as well as materials that he used, such as wood, concrete, gypsum, and more metaphoric ones: salt, soap, and ash. The selection of works on view highlights vital motifs from the 20th century literature, classical mythology, religion or history. Linear, chronological narrative is replaced with focusing on selected subjects, such as: body, death, desire, place, and memory. By combining various moments of his creative work, the approach helps expressing its complexity and discipline. It demonstrates consistency and strictness that lie at the foundations of Bałka's art, independently of the forms that it takes or the diversity of media used by the artist.

Curator: Kasia Redzisz Co-curator from Art Museum in Lodz: Maria Morzuch

Coordination: Przemysław Purtak

Supporting partner: Starak Foundation